Daniel Denham s Review of Mac Deaver s Present-Day Holy Spirit Baptism

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1 Daniel Denham s Review of Mac Deaver s Present-Day Holy Spirit Baptism

2 This is a compilation of material written by brother Daniel Denham for Defender in exposing the Deaver Doctrine of present-day Holy Spirit Baptism. We highly recommend this material for all brethren to study. Michael Hatcher, Editor, Defender

3 Mac Deaver and the Doctrine of Present-Day Holy Spirit Baptism Daniel Denham This is the first of several articles to address the egregious doctrine being advocated by Mac Deaver and his closest associates relative to present-day Holy Spirit baptism. A separate series is also planned for his direct help heresy on the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian as well. The spread of both errors has become the central focus of the Deaver camp and has been aided and abetted by those willing to turn a blind eye to their obvious destructive implications to maintain fellowship with those in that camp. A number of prominent brethren have sympathies siding with those of Mac Deaver on certain aspects of these errors, especially that of the direct help doctrine. Our plan of attack in dealing with the error of present-day Spirit baptism is to begin with a background and overview of the issue relative to the Deaverites. Next, we shall focus in the serial on the portions of Mac s book The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy Basis of Unity) expressly addressing the subject and finally address the central texts used to try to support its underlying suppositions. The Tale of the Time-Line It is a truism that the best place to start is almost always with the beginning. Mac would seem to have us believe that he came to his current views on Spirit baptism after long and serious deliberation and study that he was the one of his inner circle to come to the truth of this new position some years after some of his cohorts. In fact, in his book he gives Glenn Jobe and Todd Deaver credit for convincing him of this truth (Holy Spirit ). Todd has since run on ahead into the camp of the likes of John Mark 1

4 Hicks, Rubel Shelly, and Al Maxey to promote ultra-liberalism and the pan-ecumenicalism of the Emerging Church Movement. A salient point on this issue is that Mac implies in his book that he did not come to accept the view of present-day Spirit baptism until 2006 and for the first time defended the view in a public debate on the necessity of water baptism April 3-6 of that year against a Baptist preacher (296-97). In fact, he expressly states: And let me say that between 2001 and 2006, I had seen nothing and had heard nothing by way of evidence that falsified the position taken by Glenn (Holy Spirit 296). Dates Can Be Troublesome When Rewriting History Historical revisionism has become stock in trade in liberal circles. On the secular level, Marxist historians are daily trying to convince folks that what happened really did not happen and that history actually occurred the way they wish it had. Similarly, liberals, especially of the postmodern variety, strive to rewrite Restoration History and even the records of more contemporary events as it suits their perceived needs. It is not surprising that such things should be practiced among such folks, but it is stunningly surprising to find at least a hint of it in the writings of a man whom I have previously held the highest regards for in his work in the Kingdom. Something does not quite meet the eye relative to Mac s storyline in the 20 th chapter of his book as to how he came to accept from Glenn Jobe and Todd Deaver the notion of present-day Spirit baptism. Mac s story is openly suspect as to its truthfulness in view of other writings and the dates clearly associated with them. As far back as the October-December, 1999 issue of Biblical Notes Quarterly (hereafter BNQ), Bob Berard, in an article titled Behold, I Thought the Spirit Indwelt Christians Only through the Word, implicitly affirmed that very position in a paper edited by none other than Mac Deaver (14-16)! One of the specific texts discussed by Bob was Colossians 2:12-13, a favorite for presentday Spirit baptism advocates going back to John Calvin and even Augustine. Bob asserted: 2

5 Summarizing, one remains spiritually dead until he is baptized even though he has willingly submitted to the Spirit s word and was thereby indwelt (as some imply) by the Spirit solely by means of the Spirit s word. The Spirit s word and man s submitted will leave man lost in sin until that man is immersed (Acts 22:16). It is in that immersion that God operates in addition to His word according to Colossians 2: At baptism (not before by the word alone) spiritual life is attained and this is simultaneously with the Spirit s personal entrance into the heart (Rom. 8:9; Col. 2:12-13). Since spiritual life is a working of God occurring at baptism (Col. 2:12-13) and since the indwelling Spirit is identified as the Divine Person giving life (John 4:10-14; 7:37-39; Rom. 8; [sic]11, 13), the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Godhead who personally imparts spiritual life in the heart of the person being baptized (BNQ 1999/16). Precisely at this juncture, Mac Deaver, the editor gave the following parenthetical notation to Bob s remarks: (If the reader would require even more precision, it could be said that the Holy Spirit changes the heart during baptism [Titus 3:5] and then moves into the heart to take up His indwelling after the heart is cleansed [Gal. 4:6], Editor) (16). Bob completed his summary by writing: This is a personal work of the Spirit done in addition to (but in conjunction with) what He does through His word and this is precisely what is meant by the term direct as defined in the introduction of this article. While Bob did not explicitly call this Holy Spirit baptism, he nonetheless implied that concept in his description of the action, and Mac endorsed and even clarified that description even more vividly with his parenthetical observations. We shall come back to Berard s and Deaver s comments on this text when we examine the passages used to promote this new heresy in another article. 3

6 But for now, we wish to concentrate on the unfolding of it historically. Three years later in 2002, Bob Berard revisited the subject before us in a paper that he circulated while he was in Cambodia. The article was titled, Baptism with the Holy Spirit and Baptism into Christ [sic] Are They the Same or Different? He contended that water baptism for the remission of sins and Holy Spirit baptism actually are two parts of the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5. He also maintained that Colossians 2:12-13 concerned Spirit baptism as well as water baptism (cf. Contending For The Faith {CFTF}, August 2002, 14-16). He claimed that Colossians 2:12-13 harmonized the position that Holy Spirit baptism and water baptism actually were the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 (15). Are we to believe that Mac had no clue as to where Bob was headed back in 1999 with his assertions on Colossians 2:12-13? To phrase the question another way: Are we to believe that Mac Deaver had no idea whatsoever as to the common treatment of that text by many Calvinists and Arminians, among the many followers of Augustine s theories? Are we to accept the notion that the editor of BNQ, who has made a recent career of chiding brethren over their supposed naivety concerning the work of the Holy Spirit, was absolutely ignorant of the denominational view of that text? The only difference in Bob s mishandling of the text in the 1999 piece and that of Augustine of Hippo is that the latter would have called that operation the baptism of the Holy Spirit! And Bob later did so claim! In the February 2004 issue of The Gospel Journal, edited at that time by Dub McClish, several articles were published under the heading Examining a Deadly Holy Spirit Doctrine and dealing especially with the direct help heresy of Mac Deaver and company. I addressed and refuted the new teaching by Bob Berard on Spirit baptism. Later in the Spring of that year, Mac Deaver responded to that issue with his own special edition of BNQ. In doing so, he tried to offer a pathetic defense of Bob Berard s material (14-19). For one now professing to have not been convinced 4

7 and on board with Bob and others on this matter until 2006, he seemed awfully eager to vindicate it all the same! Even More Problems For Mac s Story But this alone does not supply all of the evidence causing us to question the aforementioned story from Mac as to how he came to accept his new error. He makes reference in his book to the 2001 Robertson County Lectureship and Glenn Jobe s lecture thereat defending the present-day Spirit baptism doctrine (Holy Spirit ). He even notes that Glenn had been wrestling with this issue for some time before the lecture, though Mac does not state clearly whether or not he knew of this before that event. Yet, he does imply that he was opposed to the notion up until 2006! Mac states that Glenn was given the assignment of speaking on the baptism of the Holy Spirit on that occasion. Mac, later in his book, refers to the intensity of the initial shock of Glenn s presentation (296). Interestingly, in a letter to me, Mac would not identify the brother at Robertson County whom he claimed made the assignment implying that neither he himself nor his father, Roy C. Deaver, had any prior knowledge of the nature of it before Glenn delivered his material. He wrote: Fifth, you will have to ask Glenn Jobe as to who invited him to speak on the baptism of the Spirit at Robertson County. I didn t do it; my father didn t do it. Some member at Robertson County asked him to do it (December 14, 2004, 2). Mac Deaver, however, was the director of that lectureship and surely ought to have known who had been asked to speak and what had been assigned as to his topic. Thus, on January 12, 2005, I responded to his statement as follows: Fifth, so you directed a lectureship that involved a man who was assigned to speak in defense of present day Spirit baptism on your watch, while supposedly you were not then in agreement with that position, is that what you are now positing? Are we to assume that you took him to task on that 5

8 occasion or shortly thereafter, or that he so overwhelmed you with his logic that you immediately acquiesced to his view? Neither explanation will not [sic] even pass the smell test, Mac. Who was the brother in charge of making the assignments? Please, forward his name and address. I am sure that the good brethren at Robertson County would be able to help put me in touch with him, especially with your cooperation. Was he one of the elders? Was he Roy McConnell? Did you have any input at all in the program before, during, or after as to who spoke, what was said, and what was done about what was said? And what about that 1999 article [the aforementioned Berard article on Colossians 2:12-13, HDD] that preceded all of this? Strange, indeed, if you have but recently come to your current view (2). Mac responded with a very brief reply on January 15, 2005, claiming that he would not even read the entirety of the letter after reading my first sentence. Actually, it was my fourth sentence that bothered him: Mac, the very nature of Spirit baptism as described in the Bible demands a miraculous connection, [and] even Baptist and Presbyterian theologians and philosophers who are cessationists relative to the signs of 1 Corinthians recognize that fact (January 12, 2005, 1). To this date I have yet to receive a response from Mac answering the questions relative to his proposed timetable. The Final Piece of the Evidence Finally, as to the timeline and Mac s claims of coming to accept the view in 2006, it will be observed that in a letter from Mac to me dated September 28, 2004, he expressed his willingness, though with some weird and stifling limitations, to defend present-day Spirit baptism in a written debate (3). A number of people have copies of this exchange, including the elders of the Sherman Drive congregation (formerly Pearl Street) in Denton, TX and Malcolm Hill, former President of Tennessee Bible College, and can verify this fact. Now, I may be mistaken, but did not September 2004 come before 2006? But, maybe Mac has a calendar that works 6

9 backward. Either that or else we have been simply treated in his book with another example of his Biblical, ethical deceit. Conclusion The purpose of this first article is to set the background for the review and refutation of Mac s new hobby on Spirit baptism by showing that credibility is something woefully lacking in his book on the Holy Spirit. It calls into question his many assertions and textual assumptions at the outset. It also shows that the Deaver doctrine is in a perpetual state of flux and ferment, one so convoluted that Mac cannot even get his story straight as to how and when he came to accept his current teachings. From the time Mac introduced the phrase supra-literary influence relative to the work of the Holy Spirit into the milieu, he has been dodging, hedging, adding, subtracting, modifying, and altering his positions on an ever-growing range of subjects, including the areas of sanctification, salvation, and the Trinity. Todd has evolved into a full-fledged postmodern liberal by way of his special leadings doctrine. Mac and company are headed down the same road. Brethren need to wake up to where it ultimately is taking them. At the close of chapter 19 in his book The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy Basis of Unity), Mac Deaver, while seeking to answer some objections to his view on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian, states: Sinners become saints by virtue of the Spirit s regenerating spirit (Tit. 3:5), and then moving inside it to indwell there (Gal. 4:6) (290). He further states, Christians are not sons of God by miraculous conception. Jesus clearly was (290). He elaborates a bit on this point then, by writing: We, however, are sons of God by regeneration (Tit. 3:5) which takes place at baptism (John 3:3, 5; Eph. 5:26). Conversion involves the supernatural, but it is no miracle (290). 7

10 In the very next chapter, he equates this act of regeneration by the Holy Spirit to Holy Spirit baptism. He says: But before man can be given the indwelling of the Spirit, he must be regenerated by the Spirit so that his nature is changed. And this is clearly when a man is baptized in water. As a man s body is lowered in the water, when it is submerged in the water, the Holy Spirit submerges that man s human spirit within himself to change his nature. And at that precise moment when God considers that man no longer a sinner but now saint, at that precise instant, the regenerating submerging Spirit moves from the outside to the inside of that heart (Tit. 3:5; Gal. 4:6). Less than this we cannot write; more than this we do not know (301). The fact is Mac does not know even this to be true. In fact, it is likely that he has written far more than wishes he had to write on this aspect of things, because he has now opened a whole new can of worms for his faction to have to consume. Mac admitted in his book that an alien sinner cannot receive the Spirit and, therefore, cannot have the Spirit. In fact, he states expressly: Alien sinners can be influenced by the Spirit through his word (Acts 7:51; 2:41). But only Christians have the Spirit himself (Gal. 4:6; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Eph. 1:13-14) (233). So, the alien sinner cannot receive the Holy Spirit, yet he must receive the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in Spirit baptism to be cleansed and then regenerated. The Problem of Regeneration Prior to regeneration (i.e., the New Birth) the alien sinner is not a Christian. He is not a saint, and is, therefore, not saved. He has not entered into the kingdom or the church (John 3:3, 5; Acts 2:38, 41, 47). But Mac has Spirit baptism as being necessary to regenerate the sinner. Thus, Mac implies direct Holy Spirit contact with the un-regenerated human spirit of the alien sinner to save him! That obviously entails Holy Spirit upon human spirit contact! Thus, in some sense the alien sinner does receive the Holy 8

11 Spirit directly, according to Mac s new doctrine. This is clearly then a self-contradiction with his statement on page 233. Already he is in grievous error here. But it is going to get worse much worse. Now, Mac certainly may quibble that the alien sinner does not have the indwelling of the Spirit, but that does not avail his case. He nonetheless has the Holy Spirit in direct contact with the human spirit of the alien. The John 14:17 text, however, is not limited to the matter of indwelling only, as Mac would have to assert in that case. But that is not his only problem here, as the following from Bob Berard shows. In the previous installment to this series, I noted two seminal articles written by the late Bob Berard (one in 1999 and the other in 2002). The former article, at least, was published by Mac Deaver in his paper Biblical Notes Quarterly (hereafter BNQ), which has functioned of recent as the chief organ for his doctrinal speculations on the Spirit. In the first article, Bob Berard wrote: Summarizing, one remains spiritually dead until he is baptized even though he has willingly submitted to the Spirit s word and was thereby indwelt (as some imply) by the Spirit solely by means of the Spirit s word. The Spirit s word and man s submitted will leave man lost in sin until that man is immersed (Acts 22:16). It is in that immersion that God operates in addition to His word according to Colossians 2: At baptism (not before by the word alone) spiritual life is attained and this is simultaneously with the Spirit s personal entrance into the heart (Rom. 8:9; Col. 2:12-13). Since spiritual life is a working of God occurring at baptism (Col. 2:12-13) and since the indwelling Spirit is identified as the Divine Person giving life (John 4:10-14; 7:37-39; Rom. 8; [sic] 11, 13), the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Godhead who personally imparts spiritual life in the heart of the person being baptized (BNQ 1999/16). Thus, Bob affirmed that the Spirit directly imparts spiritual life in the heart of the alien sinner. It is therefore an operation that may begin on the outside, but it is effected completely only inside 9

12 the alien s heart, according to this statement. It also must be the case, if such were true, that the Spirit influences the alien sinner in some fashion directly in addition to what He does through the Word, despite Mac s proviso on page 233 of his book. It will also be recalled, as noted in our first article, that Mac Deaver himself endorsed Bob s statements, and, as editor of BNQ, even added parenthetically his own comments which were designed to elaborate by purportedly providing more precision on Bob s point. Thus, Mac added: (If the reader would require even more precision, it could be said that the Holy Spirit changes the heart during baptism [Titus 3:5] and then moves into the heart to take up His indwelling after the heart is cleansed [Gal. 4:6], Editor) (16). It will be observed that Mac does not correct any of Bob s comments, but is actually elaborating on this central point. In doing so, he adds his stamp approval on Bob s teaching that the Holy Spirit directly and immediately infuses ( imparts is Bob s word) spiritual life into the heart of the alien sinner in addition to what the Spirit does through the Word of God. Thus, the operation moves from the outside to the inside of the heart even in the process of regeneration. Then, according to Mac, that is when the Spirit moves into the heart to indwell the saint. However, the position also implies that the man is a saint prior to be indwelt, if only for the briefest point in time. He is cleansed and then indwelt. The two acts are not, according to Mac s theory, really simultaneous. We shall see in a later article that Mac even implies a distinction in time relationship between cleansing from sin and regeneration. In fact, he will have the alien sinner cleansed of the sins that condemn him but still un-regenerated! The Plot Thickens We also noted in our previous article that Bob Berard later equated this operation by the Spirit with Holy Spirit baptism in his 2002 article. 10

13 Now, let us bring in another interesting statement from Mac Deaver. In a letter to me dated December 14, 2005, Mac wrote the following: Fourth, what happens in baptism is, as far as I can understand the Bible, differentiated from what takes place before it and what takes place after it. Do you disagree, brother? What happens in baptism should never be confused with the Calvinistic claim for miracle working in the heart of a sinner in order to bring him to repentance regardless how similar you think the language is! Be careful here. Does God forgive, in baptism, a sinner or a saint? He forgives a sinner in order to make him a saint. God cleanses the heart by the Spirit in order to make the heart a fit dwelling place for the Spirit. If that is heresy, do what you can with it! You may think you have a great point here, but I assure you, brother, that you do not. If you think you have me in a bind over my position, then just sign up for the oral debate or get Dub to run our written debate in his paper. (You never did tell me why Dub will not endorse you and run the debate in his paper). If you could get that done, we could have the written debate. Is this such an ungetoverable hurdle? Or if you can t get that done, then we can have the oral debate! (emphasis his, HDD; 1-2). As to his rant at the close of the paragraph, we see that Mac was willing to defend Holy Spirit baptism in debate prior to 2006, which he claims in his book when he really came around to accepting the idea of present-day Spirit baptism. In fact, in the same letter he admits that even then in 2005 he saw better now how it all fits with his particular view of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1). Further, as concerns his demand that Dub McClish publish in The Gospel Journal, the paper to which Mac alludes, was simply ignored on my part. Mac loves to call the shots, and is fond of making ludicrous demands utilizing others resources while seeming prone to ignore anything that appears to inconvenience him. Whether or not Dub would publish the written debate had no real bearing on whether a written debate could and should 11

14 occur. There were many other papers available through which to publish the debate. In fact, there still are if Mac will agree. But, returning to the current point at hand, Mac affirmed in his letter that Holy Spirit baptism is the means by which God cleanses the heart of the alien sinner in order to make him a saint! Thus, he affirmed that at the point of contact by the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit of the baptismal candidate he is still an alien sinner up until God cleanses his heart and so now considers him a saint, rather than a sinner. Folks, if that is not a direct operation on the heart of the alien sinner, then what is it? Furthermore, it implies that one can be cleansed of his sins sins that condemn him and yet not be a Christian! He has not entered the kingdom or the church, because he still must be regenerated or born again by water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). He has no sins to condemn him, but he is still an alien sinner a sinner without any sins! Thus, people are saved from their sins without being in the Lord s church, according to this implication of Mac Deaver s doctrine of present-day Spirit baptism. The alien sinner is a still a sinner because he is not a saint. Yet, he is a sinner without sins. He is an accountable non-saint who has no sins for which God holds him any more to account, but he is not a Christian. So, he is saved from his sins, but he is not among that class of beings called Christians, who are the disciples of the Lord (Acts 11:26) and are thus those who are being saved (Acts 2:47 ASV). Talk about a convoluted mess! A pathetic one, at that! This is what Mac s error has made of the plan of salvation! Who can believe it? Evidently, those who are among Mac s sycophantic followers have no problem with this inanity. Or else they cannot see beyond their noses. Also, that the operation must necessarily be miraculous, despite Mac s claims, was my precise point in comparing his teaching to some holding the teachings of John Calvin and Jacob Arminius. Those who believe in the teachings of these men at least have the sense to know that such an operation, whether they connect it with water baptism or not, would necessarily involve a mi- 12

15 raculous working of the Spirit upon the human heart. This seems to be something that Mac just cannot grasp. There are also many neo-calvinists and Arminians who, like Mac, believe and teach that in water baptism there is a direct operation of the Spirit in which the heart of the alien sinner is immediately cleansed and regenerated. Many of these folks are particularly of the Wesleyan/ Arminian branch of Protestant denominationalism, which includes many Anglicans (Episcopalians), Methodists, Holiness, Pentecostals, and Charismatics, including those belonging to the Third Wave Movement. One would think that Mac would be aware of this fact. At the very least, his cohorts in Cookeville s Tennessee Bible College ought to be. If not, then why not? Do they not have any one capable of teaching classes in the area of Systematic Theology? (I have observed a woeful dearth in reasoning from their previous president on the subject of providence. Maybe this dearth has become endemic to their entire academic program.) But Mac s current view accords with this false doctrinal system. The only difference is that the denominational commentators and scholars who teach it would laugh at Mac s contention that the operation envisioned is non-miraculous. They know what their system implies! Mac is deceiving himself, if he earnestly believes that his view does not implicitly entail the teaching of a miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit on the alien sinner s heart. His youngest son, Todd, is now partnering with those who believe in present-day miracles, including some claiming to possess apostolic authority. I wonder if Todd now believes that the operation he thinks occurred when he was converted was miraculous in nature? Some within his current fellowship most certainly do! The Underlying Premise to Mac s Theory The underlying premise of Mac s new present-day Spirit baptism theory that he does not openly address is the affinity of his view of the sinner with that of Augustine. Mac is more affected by his teaching, than he may even know. The connection is hinted at in Mac s statement: 13

16 As a man s body is lowered in the water, when it is submerged in the water, the Holy Spirit submerges that man s human spirit within himself to change his nature (Holy Spirit 301). Mac is now implying that man has a sinful nature. Shades of Calvin, Luther, and Augustine! If man s literal nature has been so marred or corrupted as to demand this direct operation, then how so? By sin? If by sin, when? Is it totally or only partially corrupted? How far is Mac willing to go with his doctrine? The underlying assumption involved in Mac s theory is a view of man that closely resembles the notions of hereditary total depravity affirmed by Augustine and codified by John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, most commonly summarized as the T in forming the acrostic T-U-L-I-P of Calvinism. To be certain, Mac does not yet accept or, at least up until the present has not accepted the doctrine of hereditary total depravity (or at least, the hereditary part), most commonly expressed by Augustine as the state caused by Original Sin, but he is sliding toward it at an alarming pace. Conclusion We shall see if in his response to my claim (assuming that such will be forthcoming), whether this will continue to hold true or whether he will resort to the hackneyed quibbles of Missionary Baptist preachers like Ben Bogard and D. N. Jackson to try to bolster his doctrine. Mac has asserted that Bogard actually taught the truth on some matters over that of N. B. Hardeman. It would be interesting for Mac to enlighten us a bit more in this regard. Surely, one would have hoped that no brother in Christ, especially one professing to be a preacher of the precious Gospel of Christ, would believe that man s innate nature as an alien sinner is so tainted with some literal, ethereal filth that it required a direct and immediate scrubbing by the Spirit to clean it up! But, alas, that absurdity is an essential to Mac Deaver s new view on Spirit 14

17 baptism. He has premised that doctrine upon it. We shall address this a bit more in our next installment. As we noted in our previous article on the current Mac Deaver error on present-day Holy Spirit baptism, Mac is affirming a view of man that is dangerously akin to that held by Calvinists and Arminians relative to the false doctrine of total depravity. As I observed, his doctrine depends upon the premise that the alien sinner s moral nature, in fact his very spirit, is so corrupted that a direct and immediate Holy Spirit upon human spirit is called for to effect the latter s cleansing. In other words, there is attached to the human spirit of the alien sinner some form of literal filth that requires direct and immediate (without medium) contact by the Holy Spirit to cleanse it. Some will, without doubt, deny that such must be the case for Mac s new theory to be true. However, unless such is the case, then Mac has no justification for asserting that the cleansing must be direct. In denying this premise, he forfeits his assertion. I suspect that, at least at present, he will not do so. The Problem of Cleansing The sad fact of the matter is Mac does affirm in his book on the Holy Spirit a view that in some fashion demands that the literal human spirit is substantially, essentially corrupted with some form of ethereal filth. This is the basis for his view of the necessity of Spirit upon spirit contact, as we have stated. Again, hear him: But before a man can be given the indwelling of the Spirit, he must be regenerated by the Spirit so that his nature is changed. And this is clearly when a man is baptized in water. As a man s body is lowered in the water, when it is submerged in the water, the Holy Spirit submerges that man s human spirit within himself to change his nature. And at the precise moment when God considers that man no longer sinner but now saint, at that precise instant, the regenerating submerging Spirit moves from the outside to 15

18 the inside of that heart (Tit. 3:5; Gal. 4:6). Less than this we cannot write; more than this we do not know (Holy Spirit, 301). Further, it is equally clear that he does not treat those passages dealing with man s condition as involving the use of simile, metaphor, hyperbole, or any such figure of speech emphatically depicting the malignity of sin, but takes them as literal. He speaks of the alien sinner s spirit in terms implying that it is substantially (in the sense of its real, actual substance) and thus essentially (i.e., pertaining to its literal essence) corrupted, marred, filthy, et al. This is crucial to understanding the thinking of Mac Deaver on the subject, and yet, I suspect, he has actually devoted relatively little time working through the texts dealing with the constituency of the human spirit. He is more Baptist or Methodist in his theology regarding the nature of man than he realizes! As a result, it affects his view of the work of the Godhead. It is possible that he came to this view of man in reverse order, by way of his speculations on the work of the Holy Spirit. If so, then he is following a path taken several centuries ago by John Calvin himself. Augustine came to his conclusions by way of the former process. He saw himself, especially due to his own immoral behavior, as being innately incapable of doing good and so concluded that God had to do all of it for him. The former idea he brought over from his days as a Gnostic Manichean. Calvin, who had a severe bent of mind (so much so that his classmates called him, The Old Objecting Case ), reasoned that God had to control everything absolutely or He was not really sovereign. This meant that even sin had to be something God ordained in His grand scheme of things. If He ordained sin, then He made men to sin and so also made them morally and totally depraved. Augustine s theory of Original Sin suited this concept for Calvin. Arminius and others have modified versions of these ideas within the scope of their respective denominational traditions, but common to all of them is belief in the total depravity and thus utter inability of the alien sinner. 16

19 While Mac has not gone quite that far, at least at present, he has gone to the point that: (1) he affirms that the Christian must have the direct and immediate impulsion of Divine power in his human spirit to enable him to do things that he otherwise would not or could not do, and now, (2) he also affirms that the alien sinner must have a direct and immediate infusion or impartation of Divine power from the Holy Spirit in addition to whatever is accomplished through the Word and sufficient to cleanse and regenerate him. In short, he affirms the need for a direct Spirit upon spirit cleansing for God to cleanse the literal human spirit of the literal (Dare we say material?) filth attending it. What then specifically is Mac s understanding about the nature of forgiveness itself where does it take place? He really does not tell us. But this is a key question at the heart of the issue. Mac must have this bizarre scenario of literal filth attending the literal human spirit of the alien sinner in order to justify the literal Holy Spirit literally contacting, literally exerting cleansing power, and literally washing the literal human spirit of the alien sinner clean of this literal grime on its surface (what about the inside of the cup?). If cleansing and forgiveness contemplate one in the same action, simply viewed from differing perspectives semantically, then he removes forgiveness from being ultimately and finally an act in the Divine mind in response to man s obedience to the Gospel to the specific operation of the literal Holy Spirit directly in literally sprucing up the literally nasty human spirit. This is what his view entails. Thus, Mac writes on page 302: If to receive the Holy Spirit as indwelling is based on the Holy Spirit s regenerating the human spirit so as to change its nature, and if at one s baptism in water baptism in Spirit also occurs, then every Christian has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Several questions naturally arise here. Is Mac alluding to Ephesians 2:1-4? If so, is he aware of the proper force of phusis here? What does Mac himself mean by nature? Does he mean the same 17

20 thing that Paul meant in this text? The answer to these by Mac, I perceive, would be most enlightening. Pondering Other Salient Matters We also wonder why the cleansing is not done on the inside of the human spirit, where one would think such ethereal slime would be more prone to be gathered. Bob Berard, at least, did affirm that the Spirit imparts spiritual life in the heart of the person being baptized. So, he implied some sort of reaching into the alien sinner s spirit by the Holy Spirit to infuse life into him. But this then raises the question of whether or not Bob was headed into the Calvinistic doctrine of imputed righteousness, wherein imputed is implicitly misconstrued as infused instead of its force of accounted. Those who believe Calvin s error hold that God transfers to or infuses within the heart of the alien sinner the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ. At any event, Bob implied some form of operation of the Spirit imparting in the human spirit of the alien sinner spiritual life. Does Mac disagree with Bob s supposedly Divinely-given wisdom on this matter? It would be interesting to know that answer. After all, he has not as of yet as far as we know accepted the supposedly Divinely-given wisdom of his son, Todd, in joining up with the Emerging Church folks and other rank liberals. We also wonder if the literal blood of Christ is supposed to then be literally applied in the process. When the Scriptures speak of being cleansed by the blood of Christ, do we not understand that to be spiritual in nature rather than literal? When we say that the blood is applied in the waters of baptism, do we expect our auditors to understand that literally? Also concerning Bob Berard, he believed his doctrine so strenuously that he had himself baptized again, because he believed, on the basis of his exposition of Colossians 2:12-13, that one had to have faith in God s work through this direct operation of the Spirit on the alien sinner in baptism for one s baptism to be valid. Now, has Mac been re-baptized? What about all of the preachers, elders, and members in good standing at Pearl Street, Sheffield, 18

21 Cookeville, and elsewhere who profess support for Mac s theory? Have they all been re-baptized with this new understanding as part of their belief system? What of Weylan Deaver, Malcolm Hill, Kerry Duke, David Hill, Dick Sztanyo, Glenn Jobe, et al.? What of the elders, preacher, and members, as well as the speakers, who were involved in the recent Holy Spirit lectureship in Tilton, NH? If not, then why not? If so, then why are they so desirous to fellowship all of us who steadfastly refuse to believe their falderal, even despite the fact we refuse to believe it? By its very nature it pertains to salvation and thus salvational issues. It cannot then be treated as a matter of opinion or indifference. In his book, Mac Deaver asserts that to have any future, the church must adopt his nonsensical theories (334, 338). That does not sound like someone who believes these are simply matters of opinion or indifference regarding salvation and fellowship. The Primary Essence of Mac s Spirit Baptism Doctrine Brother Mac s new doctrine is really nothing more than what has been termed Scrub-board Theology, which implies that somehow the Holy Spirit has to put a hammerlock on the human spirit of the alien sinner and personally scrub him up and down in His #2 washtub to clean him up from all of that ectoplasmic goo encasing his spirit. This is where he is on the subject of Spirit baptism. This is essential to his position. By reducing it to its essence we better see the absurdity and the logical fallacies attending it. Let Mac or his defenders then indulge us just a bit and address the following true/false queries: 1. True or False: The language used to describe the human spirit of the alien sinner as dirty, filthy, scarlet, black, et al. is to be taken literally. 2. True or False: The language used to describe the human spirit of the alien sinner as dirty, filthy, scarlet, black, et al. is metaphorical and hence figurative in nature. 19

22 3. True or False: The constituent nature (its literal essence) of the human spirit of the alien sinner is corrupted and marred by sin. 4. True or False: The language used to describe the condition of the human spirit of the alien sinner is metaphorical and hence figurative in nature. 5. True or False: The alien sinner s literal human spirit has literal filth or slime attached to it necessitating direct contact by the Holy Spirit to cleanse it. 6. True or False: The alien sinner s human spirit is forgiven in the mind of God when he obeys the Gospel. 7. True or False: Forgiveness of sin refers to the same thing as being cleansed of sins. 8. True or False: Some sort of ethereal filth attends the human spirit of the alien sinner until the Holy Spirit directly washes it away with an infusion of His power. 9. True or False: The alien sinner is inherently a sinner. 10. True or False: The alien sinner is a sinner by practice or habit. 11. True or False: One can be forgiven of his sins without being in the Kingdom. 12. True or False: One can be cleansed of his sins and yet not be regenerated. Conclusion We shall see what further inquiry may result from this latter point, if Mac or any of his supporters respond. But suffice it to say that Mac s new present-day Spirit baptism heresy has created a reworking on his part of the Bible teaching on the nature of man as well as the Godhead. He has most certainly restructured his teaching on the plan of salvation and has added one more step to that plan, whether he admits it or not as we shall see. He also is teaching the direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart of the alien sinner in addition to and distinct from His work through the Word of God. Yes, 20

23 indeed, this is heresy, and despite our brother s professed bravado, he thus far has been unwilling to deal with it! Many Problems for Mac s Error Among some of the many problems attending Mac s errors on Spirit baptism, especially in view of the scrub board theology it entails, is his butchery of Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 (The Holy Spirit: Center of Controversy Basis of Unity ). In every case where the idea of receiving the Spirit or the Spirit being poured out upon certain men is mentioned, he asserts that Spirit baptism is directly involved. He claims that the apostles received the second half of the one baptism when they were baptized in the Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). He knows that they had already been baptized either under John s baptism (as in the case of Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist) or Jesus baptism, as per John 4:2. However, their baptism was not complete, according to Mac s teaching, until Acts 2:1-4. The problem is that Jesus taught that His disciples were already clean through the word which He had spoken to them (John 15:3), while Mac implies they really were not cleansed until the day of Pentecost when they received Spirit baptism. He also affirms that in Acts 2:38, Peter promised that when one is baptized in water he also receives Spirit baptism that he may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. But in Acts 8 the Samaritans, he claims, received Spirit baptism sometime after their water baptism through the imposition of the hands of Peter and John. He also teaches that the household of Cornelius received Spirit baptism before water baptism, and the men of Ephesus in Acts 19 received it through the laying of Paul s hands after their water baptism. Yet he also avers that John 3:5 teaches that water baptism and Spirit baptism are simultaneous to some extent and equally essential to enter into the Kingdom. In fact, he teaches, by some tortured and convoluted thinking, that these two baptisms actually are the one baptism of Ephesians 21

24 4:5. So = 1, according to Mac. He even admits that his position entails two immersions (one in water and one in Spirit) (304). He speaks of the birth of water and the birth of Spirit, and says these would always occur at approximately the same moment (317). So, he affirms by implication two New Births! But they are both the one baptism. He declares, sinners become Christians today by being baptized in both elements (297). That Deaver does not seem to see a myriad of striking selfcontradictions in his teaching in all of this is simply astonishing. If John 3:5 teaches, as Mac claims, that both water and Spirit baptism are involved in one s entering the kingdom, and if the action of both baptisms are simultaneous in large measure, as he also claims, and as the text would demand if such were what was truly contemplated by it, then any action or situation involving a time separation that makes them completely distinct from one another in that regard does not fit that model. But Jesus taught that except one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Except means if, and only if. The exception thus precludes any other way of entrance into the kingdom of God (or the church). This would necessarily include the time of the action. If John 3:5 implies a close degree of simultaneity, as Mac teaches, then the exception precludes any variance. If this action is simultaneous in large measure, then it cannot be the case that those in Acts 8, 10, and 19 received Spirit baptism at times clearly distinct from what is here bound by the Lord in John 3:5 otherwise except does not really mean except. So, Mac must ultimately forfeit these as examples of Spirit baptism or he must forfeit his teaching on John 3:5. The fact is he is wrong on all accounts. Furthermore, in affirming what he does concerning Acts 8, 10, and 19, he is teaching that these people were for some period of time half-way born again. Mac s doctrine implies, for example, the silly conclusion that when the Samaritans were baptized in water they had only half of the baptism of Ephesians 4:5. The same would also have to be true of the men of Ephesus in Acts 19 22

25 after they had been baptized in water. The Samaritans would even have gone around for some time in that condition, as it would have taken at least a couple of days before Peter and John arrived to lay hands upon them. The apostles had to receive word from Samaria (Acts 8:14), then Peter and John would have had to travel down from Jerusalem to Samaria a distance of some 38 to 40 miles (8:15). Even Cornelius and his household would have only received half of the baptism of Ephesians 4:5, as per Mac s theory, when the Spirit fell upon them in Acts 10:45, because they had not yet been baptized in water (10:48). They were thus not members of the church for they had not yet been regenerated and/ or cleansed, even though they had half of the one baptism they needed. Were they just half born again? But if Spirit baptism is what provided the cleansing and regenerating element of the Spirit in direct contact with their human spirits, then why did Cornelius and his household even need water baptism? They were already cleansed of sin and regenerated by that direct contact with the Spirit, according to Mac s doctrine. Eventually, Mac will reject the necessity of water baptism for the remission of sins if he follows out his present line of thought. That Todd is willing to fellowship Al Maxey and John Mark Hicks who fellowship those who already reject that doctrine is a good indication of where this will ultimately lead all of Mac s followers if they try to be consistent. Another problem with this wacky view of Mac s is that it implies that Acts 8, 10, and 19 are not examples of the New Birth that accord with present-day experience and to which we may appeal to demonstrate what that Birth entailed. None of the examples of conversion, according to Mac s teaching, in Acts 8, 10, and 19 apply to our present situation. So, effectively, he has just eliminated all of these as examples for conversion. The Baptismal Process as Described by Mac Read Mac s own description of the baptismal process he claims is taught in John 3:5 and elsewhere: 23

26 But before a man can be given the indwelling of the Spirit, he must be regenerated by the Spirit so that his nature is changed. And this is clearly when a man is baptized in water. As a man s body is lowered in the water, when it is submerged in the water, the Holy Spirit submerges that man s human spirit within himself to change his nature. And at the very precise moment when God considers that man no longer sinner but now saint, at that precise instant, the regenerating submerging Spirit moves from the outside to the inside of that heart (Tit. 3:5; Gal. 4:6). Less than this we cannot write; more than this we do not know (301). This implies that when the Spirit first contacts the heart of the baptismal candidate that candidate is still an un-regenerated alien sinner. Thus, according to Mac s new teaching there is a direct and immediate operation of the Spirit upon the naked heart of the sinner. Mac s error on John 3:5 implicitly takes the construction as an order of operation type of construction. He is reading the text in this fashion, One must be baptized into water and into the Holy Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. The problem is this wrongly equates born with baptized. While baptism is part of the New Birth, baptism alone is not the New Birth. The New Birth involves two key elements here water and the Spirit. The form of the construction is the same as that given in John 4:24, where worship is said to be in spirit and in truth. Clearly, that is not an order of operation construction. Jesus is not saying that we must worship first in spirit and then in truth. Neither is He affirming in John 3:5 that we are to be baptized in water and then in the Spirit. That does not follow from the construction. Yet, Mac acts as though it does ( ). Numerous other examples can be adduced showing the absurdity of his reasoning here. Order of operation constructions involve conjoined verbs. Such is not what we have here. The construction s force must be deduced from other passages bearing on each of the two elements described in the text as part of the New Birth. 24

27 Mac also teaches that the specific order of this operation is that the alien sinner is first cleansed then regenerated to become a saint. Mac writes: Cleansing has to do with forgiveness, and that takes place when one is baptized in water. If we make a claim for the baptism of the Spirit, we are claiming that the Holy Spirit immerses the human spirit, or that the human spirit is submerged in the Holy Spirit. This event is the event referred to as regeneration as per Titus 3:5. But regeneration is not cleansing. Regeneration is the act of generating again. It is a spiritual revitalization. It is a coming to spiritual life again, and logically speaking would follow the cleansing. In baptism, the sinner is forgiven or cleansed, he is regenerated, and then he is indwelled. Why this order? Because, cleansing must precede regeneration or a man would be regenerated while yet in his sin. Second, the regenerated person is the person whose nature is changed (Tit. 3:5; 2 Pet. 1:4). He has new spiritual life because he is in a new way associated with God or in spiritual fellowship with God (299). Evidently Mac is unaware that Titus 3:5 speaks of the washing of regeneration. He commits the either/or fallacy yet again. He thinks that either the washing or cleansing must come first or the regeneration must come first. He asserts that the former must do so to avoid the supposed dilemma he proposes. However, the Bible actually teaches that the two are really one in the same and tied to the same event. The construction the washing of regeneration means the washing which is regeneration. These terms simply look at the one action from two perspectives cleansing and regeneration. Also, the washing of regeneration grammatically is tied by a coordinating conjunction to renewing of the Holy Spirit in what is called hendiadys, the use of two words to express a single concept (Matthew S. DeMoss, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek, 66). This grammatical form involves a type of parallelism that describes the nature of an action from two viewpoints. In this case, washing and renewing are the key words in the structure. Perhaps, Mac s special enlightened 25

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